Sleep apnea: What is sleep apnea and how does it occur?

If you feel fatigued during the day and have trouble sleeping at night, you may have sleep apnea. But, Do you know what it is? Or how is it produced?

In this post we will answer these and other questions about sleep apnea, so you can prevent or solve the problem if you suffer from it.

What is sleep apnea and how does it occur?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that involves the interruption of breathing for short periods of time at bedtime. The interruptions can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur more than 30 times per hour.

The main types of sleep apnea found are the following:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): It is the most common and occurs when the throat muscles relax. This is due to an occlusion of the airway, causing an interruption of airflow and causing the person to wake up frequently. In most cases, interruptions are not usually remembered.

Central sleep apnea: This occurs when the brain does not send appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing, causing them to become inactive. The airway remains open. In addition, these types of interruptions are remembered when waking from sleep.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Occurs when a person has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may be suffering from this syndrome, as this is one of the most common symptoms. However, not all snorers suffer from sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Some of the symptoms and signs of sleep apnea are:

Loud snoring: Usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea.

– Interruptions or pauses in breathing: This occurs during sleep and is usually witnessed by another person.

Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath: Something that may indicate central sleep apnea.

Dry mouth: Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat.

– Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnolence).

– Irritability.

– Headache in the morning.

– Choking or difficulty breathing during sleep.

Insomnia: Difficulty in staying asleep.

– Attention problems.

People most prone to sleep apnea are men, people who are overweight, or who have small airways. Also, children who have swollen tonsils and adenoids may suffer from sleep apnea.

How do I know if I suffer from sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea should be suspected if we observe the so-called «clinical triad». It consists of daytime hypersomnia, snoring and breathing interruptions observed by another person sleeping with us.

You could be considered to have the disorder if the pauses last more than 10 seconds and occur more than 7 times per hour.

Snoring starts out soft and becomes progressively louder as the respiratory muscles try to overcome the shortage of air. The apnea period occurs when the larynx collapses.

At this moment a loud snoring sound appears marking the end of the apnea and normal ventilation is restored, starting a new sleep cycle.

These episodes may occur several times during the same night.

What are the consequences of not treating sleep apnea?

If untreated, sleep apnea syndrome can increase the risk of sleep apnea:

– Decreased quality of life.

– Hypertension.

Loss of memory and concentration: With the possibility of suffering traffic accidents when falling asleep while driving.

– Heart disease and myocardial infarction.

– Diabetes.

– Chronic fatigue.

– Appearance of cerebrovascular diseases.

The apnea splint

It is a novel intraoral device that is especially indicated for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea syndrome.

Its mechanism of action is based on a controlled and comfortable jaw advancement. By increasing the muscle tone at the airway level, the passage of air will be facilitated, eliminating snoring and improving apnea episodes, which translates into a significant improvement in the quality of life of patients.

Characteristics of the apnea splint:

– Custom-made for each patient.

– Biocompatible materials.

– It can be easily adjusted.

– Allows mouth movements and functions such as speaking, drinking…

– Adequate breathing eliminating snoring.

These devices are called MADs (Mandibular Advancement Devices) and what they do during sleep is to move the jaw forward to free the airway and decrease or eliminate snoring and improve the resulting apnea.

Do you need a sleep apnea treatment?

In Cervantes Dental Clinic in Granada we care about your dental health, so we advise you properly to treat your specific case.

As we always say, each one of us is different, and so is our case. For this reason, personalized and attentive service is our daily routine.

If you need a sleep apnea treatment in Granada, just call or write us, we will be happy to assist you.

Smile is a universal language. Come to our dental clinic in Granada and we will advise you. First appointment free of charge!

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